Entangled Religions 11.6 (2020) er.ceres.rub.de

Buddhist and Indian Elements in the Onomastics of the Iranian Manichaean Texts

Iris Colditz

The use of names and terms of Indian origin bears witness to encounters of Iranian-speaking Manichaeans with Indian religious traditions and cultures, but the importance of an impact of Indian religions on Manichaeism is still subject of scholarly discussions. This paper focuses on Buddhist and Indian elements in Manichaean onomastics. Recent research in the context of the project Iranisches Personennamenbuch has provided, for the first time, a complete collection of proper names in the Iranian Manichaean texts from the Turfan region. The transmitted Iranian, hybrid, and non-Iranian names of Manichaean and non-Manichaean historical persons, literary, and mythological figures reflect the ethnic, religious, and multilingual diversity of the peoples along the Silk Roads. The results of this study enable us to analyse the various influences in Manichaean onomastics. Here this refers to proper names of Indian origin, loan-translations, Buddha and Bodhisattva names, names from the Buddhist tradition, and the like. This paper shall show which Indian names occur in Iranian Manichaean texts and how they have been adapted to the Manichaean context.

Central Asia, Turfan region, Iranian Manichaean texts, Iranian onomastics, Manichaeism, Buddhism, Jainism



Manichaeism, named after its founder, the prophet Mani (216–276/7 C.E.), was once one of the great world religions. Today it has disappeared but it still speaks to us through the extant Manichaean writings1 in Greek (Gr.), Coptic (Copt.), Middle Persian (MP.), Parthian (Parth.), Sogdian (Sogd.), Bactrian (Bactr.), New Persian (NP.), Old Uyghur (OUygh.), and Chinese (Chin.) as well as through artistic artefacts such as book miniatures and wall paintings. Manichaeism played an important role within the religious history of the Near East and Central Asia and even of Europe. It existed from the third to the fourteenth century, isolated remains even until the seventeenth century, and spread from Spain to China, from the Balkans to North Africa. In his teachings, Mani absorbed influences from various religious and intellectual movements, mostly from Gnosticism and Christianity, but also from Zoroastrianism, Neo-Platonism, Stoa, and Buddhism.2 In Central Asia, the impact of eastern religions played an important role in the further development of Manichaeism. The cities along the Silk Roads can be understood as multi-cultural centres where Iranians, Turks, Chinese, Tocharians, and others lived together as followers of various religions. Thus, the literature (mostly translations) and artefacts of eastern Manichaeism reflect the historical, religious, and cultural interrelations between the peoples of Central Asia.


The impact of Indian religions on Manichaeism has long been a subject of learned discussions.3 Scholars have mainly focused on Buddhism as a source of borrowed terms and concepts, since Mani considered Buddha as one of the prophets preceding him, and, moreover, was called Buddha himself. Recent studies have also argued in favour of Jainism as a suitable pattern for some Indian elements in early Manichaeism (Gardner 2005; Deeg and Gardner 2009). But opinions differ as regards the dimension and importance of such influences. Some scholars consider the impact of Indian ideas and concepts on Manichaeism as not fundamental and only effective to a limited extent (Lieu 1988, 53–54, 57; Sundermann 1986, 1991, 1997; Bryder 2005), while others characterize Buddhism (or Jainism) as decisive for the formation of the Manichaean religion and practice (Tardieu 1988; Gardner 2005; Deeg and Gardner 2009; Hutter 2017). Furthermore, it has been supposed that Manichaeism has exerted reverse impact on Buddhism in some points, especially on the Mahāyāna school (Skjaervø 1994; Emmerick 1989; Sundermann 1997, 649–50; Hutter 2002; on a possible influence of Gnosticism on Buddhism and vice versa, see Conze 1967). We cannot go into the details of these discussions here. But it becomes obvious—although the chronology of events is far from clear—that Manichaeism was impacted by Buddhism, or more generally Indian ideas, in various ways. Mani could first have received very limited information on India from Bardaiṣan’s report on an Indian delegation to the court of the Roman emperor Heliogabalus (at the beginning of the third century) as well as from the apocryphal Acts of Thomas as the apostle of India, both of which may have inspired his own journey.4 It has also been assumed that there may have existed communities of Baptists (a Gnostic sect in which Mani grew up) in trading centres at harbour cities in the diaspora as far as western India (Sundermann 1986, 13a). During his travels in northwestern India (about 240–242 C.E.), Mani converted the Buddhist king of Tūrān (northeastern Baluchestan), a vassal state of the Sasanian realm.5 Back in Iran, he sent the missionaries Pattēg and Hannī to India and also wrote a letter to India.6 But we have no further information about Indian Manichaeans, and there is reason to assume that Mani’s attempt to make India a permanent part of his network of Manichaean communities failed.


At the Sasanian court, Mani had a conversation with a Buddhist sage called Gundēš (an Indian or Iranian?) and two other wise men from the East (s. below). The existence of followers of Indian religions in the Sasanian Empire in the third century is proved by the reference to them as MP. šmny /šaman/ “ṣamaṇas, i.e. Buddhists” and blmny /brā̆hman/ “brāhmaṇas, i.e. Hindus” in the inscription of the Zoroastrian priest Kerdīr (ed. Back 1978, 414–15, 509n264). The knowledge on Buddhism was brought to a new level when Manichaean missionaries (especially Mani and Ammō) came into contact with Iranian Buddhists in northeastern Iran at the border to the Kushan empire, where Buddhism flourished (besides other religions such as Hinduism and Jainism).7 This milieu and the dispute between Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism as well as Buddhism (or Jainism) is also reflected in the Manichaean Coptic text Dublin Kephalaia “The Chapters of the Wisdom of MyLord Mani” (partly ed. Tardieu 1988; Gardner 2005; Deeg and Gardner 2009; Gardner, BeDuhn, and Dilley 2018). A revitalisation of Buddhist influence happened when Manichaeism established itself in Central Asia (eighth to eleventh century), where the communities lived side by side with Buddhist ones. Finally, from the eleventh century onwards, Buddhism superseded Manichaeism in this area.


Indian influence on Iranian languages8 took place by intercultural and interreligious encounter with Buddhism and possibly Jainism and Hinduism, especially in border regions in eastern Iran. From the Kushan kingdom, Buddhism also spread into neighbouring countries, among them the Arsacid Empire, as early as the second century.9 Parthians and Sogdians even acted as Buddhist missionaries in China and as translators of Buddhist texts into Chinese (Sundermann 1982, 99–100; Tardieu 1988, 175–76). Thus Parthian was affected by Buddhist terminology and transmitted it into other languages as well. Indian loanwords in Parthian can be traced back mainly to northwestern Gāndhārī Prakrit (Pkt.) forms and only rarely to “learned” Sanskrit (Skt.) forms. The earliest records of such terms are manifest in the Manichaean Parthian literature that originates in the mission in northeastern Iran. Middle Persian (of the Sasanian inscriptions and Manichaean texts) transmits Indian loanwords only to a much lesser extent. The Sogdians came into contact with Indian terms and concepts through trading along the routes of the Silk Roads. It was this Central Asian milieu where a number of them converted to Buddhism, while in the Sogdian homeland Buddhism did not gain a foothold (on a Buddhist minority in the Sogdiana, see Lurje 2019). The earliest Indian loanwords, probably from Prakrit, appear in the Sogdian Ancient Letters (at the beginning of the fourth century, ed. Reichelt 1928–1931, vol. 1; cf. Sims-Williams 1985). The Manichaean Sogdian literature developed in Central Asia and was influenced by the terminology of Buddhist texts in Sogdian. This milieu may also have caused a re-use of Parthian elements with a Buddhist background.


In this paper the focus is on Indian elements that were adopted in Manichaean onomastics. Recent onomastic research in the context of the project Iranisches Personennamenbuch (Colditz 2018) has provided, for the first time, a complete collection of proper names in the Iranian Manichaean texts from the Turfan region. The results of this study enable us to analyse the various influences in Manichaean onomastics in greater detail. The transmitted names reflect the ethnic and religious diversity of the peoples along the Silk Roads, their intercultural and interreligious contacts, and also the syncretistic character of the Manichaean teachings. The name-bearers are Manichaean and non-Manichaean historical persons as well as literary and mythological figures. The Personennamenbuch fascicle of the Iranian Manichaean texts contains 766 lemmata of names of up to 887 persons. They may now be complemented by four names of Elect written cryptographically (Leurini 2017, 22–24; Colditz forthcoming). Thus the full number of known or supposed names is 770, belonging to about 891 individuals. All in all, only about 605 names can be determined linguistically, but for a relevant additional number of names the language of origin may at least be supposed. But these given figures of names and individuals can only be preliminary since the context is often missing in the fragmentary texts. Moreover, many names cannot be assigned to persons with certainty. In the following we shall give, first, an overview of the linguistic origins of the names in the Iranian Manichaean corpus (see figure 1):



The ratio of these different categories of names can be described as follows:


Figure 1: Linguistic origins of the names in the Iranian Manichaean corpus (languages arranged clockwise in the diagram; percentage rounded; right side: total number of names)


Names and name elements of non-Iranian origin may have been borrowed directly from another language but also via a third or even fourth language, i.e. they went through several stages of borrowings. In the Personennamenbuch fascicle we have given the figure of twelve names of Indian origin, and up to eleven more that may be supposed as Indian names. Of course, these figures cannot be taken for absolute since there is a certain margin of discretion in the decision on the linguistic origin for the reasons described above. There are also names that are loan-translations or calques of Indian names but these cannot always be clearly defined since other interpretations are also possible. It becomes obvious that such names make up only a small part of the total number of names in the Iranian Manichaean corpus.10 This group of names consists of


Buddha and Bodhisattva names

Buddha Śākyamuni


Although these terms are rather epithets and titles, they have been included in the Personennamenbuch since they are also used to designate historical persons and as name elements. The term Skt. Buddha “the awakened / enlightened one” found its way into Iranian languages very early, probably first into Bactrian in the Kushan period (approx. first to third century), from there into Parthian, and from Parthian into Middle Persian and Sogdian. Manichaeans might have played a significant role in the transmission of the name Buddha into late antique intellectual discourse, especially in Greek and Byzantine sources (see Pettipiece 2009). In the Manichaean corpus it already appears in Mani’s writings Šābuhragān (this passage is only transmitted in al-Bīrūnī’s Chronology as Arab. ʾlbwd /al-Bud(d)/, see Sundermann 1991, 429) and Book of Giants and in early Parthian texts, but also in Sogdian and in the single Bactrian text. The spellings MP.M bwt, Parth.M bwt, bwṯ, Parth.S pwt, Sogd.M bwt-, bwṯ-, pwt-, pwṯ-, Sogd.S pwt-, pwtt-, Bactr.M bwt suggest a reading /But(t)/ with -t(t) < -dd, although the earliest word form introduced by Mani may have been Bud(d) with –dd (see its Arabic spelling above) and also Copt. ⲃⲟⲩⲇⲇⲁⲥ /Bouddas/ (Sundermann 1991, 428–29; Sundermann et al. 2001, 450; cf. Lurje 2010, no. 964; Colditz 2018, no. 170). The term is used here in several contexts (for overviews, see Sundermann 1991, 437–38; van Tongerloo 1984, 243–46; Hutter 2017).


a) The historical Buddha: “Buddha” designates the historical Buddha Śākyamuni (in MP., Parth., Sogd., Bactr.). By including Buddha (and of course also Zarathustra) in a chain of the true prophets preceding him, Mani took the decisive step beyond his Christian and Gnostic roots towards the foundation of a world religion (Sundermann 1986, 18a, 1997, 653). At the beginning of his mission (after his return from India), Mani had only poor knowledge of his predecessor and put Buddha’s date before that of Zarathustra. Due to contact with Buddhism during the Manichaean mission in eastern Iran, Mani later corrected that chronology and gave Buddha his appropriate position after Zarathustra (Sundermann 1991, 430–37; Hutter 2017, 222–23). Furthermore, the texts make allusions to Buddha’s wisdom and compassionate behaviour but with a Manichaean reinterpretation (Sundermann 1991, 438). Buddha Śākyamuni thus became a “Manichaeus ante Manichaeos” (1991, 437). Some texts mention the historical Buddha more completely as “Buddha Śākyamuni.” The spellings Parth.M šʾqmn bwt /Šāk(i)man but(t)/, Sogd.M pwwṯšʾkmn /But(t)-šāk(i)man/, Sogd.S šʾkmnw pwt- /Šāk(i)mun(?) but(t)/ point to a pronunciation /Šāk(i)man / Šāk(i)mun/ borrowed from northwestern Gāndhārī Pkt. Śakamuṇi (Sims-Williams 1983, 134, 137; see Lurje 2010, no. 1148; Colditz 2018, no. 501). The Skt. form Śākyamuni could be possibly reconstructed in Sogd.S šʾkymwn pwt- /Šākyamun but(t)/ (MS. (š)[ʾ](k)[y]mwn pwt-). In the Manichaean Coptic Dublin Kephalaia the name is probably rendered, however, as ⲃⲟⲩⲇⲇⲁⲥ ⲁⲛ ⲡⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ /bouddas an p-makarios/ “Bouddas the blessed”, ⲃⲟⲩⲇⲇⲁⲥ ⲛ̅ⲙⲁⲕⲁⲣⲓⲟⲥ /bouddas en-makarios/ “the blessed Bouddas” and the like (Gardner 2005, 130 with n. 20; for records in the Kephalaia see Gardner, BeDuhn, and Dilley 2018, 212).


b) Mani as Buddha: It is only consistent that “Buddha” is also used as an epithet of Mani himself in hagiographic texts (especially in the report on the conversion of the Turān-šāh) and in hymns in Parthian and Sogdian (Henning 1937, 41n1; van Tongerloo 1984, 243–46; BeDuhn 2015, 72–73; Hutter 2017, 223–24). Furthermore, he is identified with the eschatological Buddha Maitreya (s. below). That Mani has been characterized and presented in a “Buddhist” way has been seen “as an indication of the missionary technique employed by himself amongst the Buddhists already in the course of his journey to India” (Sundermann 1986, 13b). Later in eastern Manichaeism, Mani’s vita was assimilated to that of Buddha Śākyamuni, as it becomes obvious in the Manichaean Compendium of the Doctrines and Styles of the Teaching of Mani, the Buddha of Light in Chinese (about eighth to tenth century; ed. Haloun and Henning 1953; transl. Schmidt-Glintzer 1987; see also Lieu 1988, 210–11).


c) The apostles as Buddhas: Consequently, “Buddha” is used in the plural MP., Parth. But(t)ān, Sogd. But(t)išt to characterize the five apostles in Manichaeism: Adam / Seth, Zarathustra, Buddha, Jesus, Mani (Hutter 2017, 224). In a Parthian and a Sogdian parable, they are compared to five brothers (ed. Reck 2009). In an Old Uyghur hymn to the Light Nous, an emanation of Jesus who brings the redeeming knowledge of Gnosis, the “five Buddhas” (beš burhan) are related to the five elements of Light, the sons of the god Primal Man (Wilkens 1999–2000, 222–28; on the Manichaean pantheon, see Sundermann 2002). The apostles are related to the Nous and as such to Jesus, see MP. [bw](t)[ʾn ](ʾ)wd frystgʾnrwšnʾn “the [Bu]ddh[as] and Light apostles” (Sundermann 1981, 134, text 24.2, l. 2244). In the Chinese Manichaica 五明佛 wu ming fo “the five Buddhas of Light” (Klimkeit 1989, 192n1; Mikkelsen 2006, 72) appear who may have been coined after a Buddhist pattern. One may think of the five Adibuddhas or celestial Buddhas (Dhyānibuddhas) in Mahāyāna Buddhism: Vairocana, Akṣobhya, Ratnasaṃbhava, Amitābha, and Amoghasiddhi (Soothilll and Hodous 1937, 120a, see 五智如來; Lieu 1988, 208–9) or of the first five Buddhas of the present Bhadrakalpa: Krakucchanda, Kanakamuni, Kāśyapa, Buddha Śākyamuni, Maitreya, succeeded by 995 others. See also Khotanese paṃjyau jsa “five Buddhas” in the Book of Zambasta (ed. Maggi 2009a, 164–65).


We may also refer here to Sogd. pšʾbwt /paš-But(t)/, pl. pšʾbwṯyṯ, pšʾpwṯyṯ /paš-But(t)it/ “after-Buddhas, those who come after Buddha” (Gershevitch 1954, § 1143) who are mentioned after the “great Buddhas” (Henning 1945b, 154; Yoshida 2001, 113). They may designate the apostles or Elect in exalted position. Thus Sogd. šytyl pšʾbwṯyy “after-Buddha of Seth” may be taken as an epithet of Mani (Morano 2017b, 175–76), but the title mwcq “teacher” and the epithet xwrʾsʾnʾ sʾrβγ “tower of Khorasan” in the same text may also point to a Manichaean teacher in Central Asia.


d) Manichaean gods as Buddhas: Moreover, in some Manichaean texts the plural “Buddhas” serves as a general term for all gods or a group of gods (for example for the sun- and moon-god, or Jesus, the Light Maiden and the Nous, or the divine tetrad God-Light-Power-Wisdom), see Sogd. bwṯyšṯṯ ʾxšywnytyẖ “Buddha-kings” probably for ʾxšywnʾkt βγyšt “sovereign gods”, see OUygh. ellig täŋrilär “idem” (Provasi 2013, 388–89). It is not clear whether they are identical with the “five Buddhas” (s. above).


e) Manichaean church leaders as Buddhas: The epithet “Buddha” was later actually transmitted to leaders of the Manichaean church in Central Asia in a Buddhist environment. This is true for ʾryʾmʾn pwxr /Aryāmān-puhr/, Teacher of the East in Qočo (beginning of eleventh century) in the Sogdian letters A (ll. 18–9, *132) and B (ll. 13, 76–77) from Bezeklik (ed. Yoshida 2002, 234–35, 2019, 74–75, 88–89, 100, 158–59, 166–67; cf. Lurje 2010, no. 683; Colditz 2018, no. 61) and for an anonymous teacher in a Middle Persian installation hymn (ed. Leurini 2017, 97, l. 716).


The use of several other records of the term “Buddha” in Parthian and Sogdian Manichaean texts with fragmentary context remains unclear. Besides the plural forms of “Buddha” and the “after-Buddhas,” there are also other derivations from the word with Iranian phonetic complements in Sogdian: adj. pwtʾny /butāne/ “Buddha- (in compounds), Buddha-like”, abstr. pwt(t)yʾkh /but(t)yāk/ “Buddhahood”.

Buddha Maitreya


Especially in hymns, Mani is identified with the coming saviour figure Buddha Maitreya, who played an important role in Mahāyāna Buddhism in Central Asia (on Mani as Maitreya, see Hutter 2002, 2017; van Tongerloo 2008; for the records, see Lurje 2010, no. 737, s. mytrʾk; Livšic 2010, nos. 391–93; Colditz 2018, nos. 362–64). This identification may go back to Mani himself as part of his missionary technique during his journey across northwestern India (Sundermann 1986, 13b), although Mahāyāna is not expected to have dominated in this area at that time. On the one hand, Mani thus met the eschatological expectations of Buddhists as a target group of the Manichaean mission. On the other hand, it seems that the Manichaean believers actually awaited Mani’s physical return (Hutter 2002, 115–16). This becomes obvious in phrases such as Parth. mytrg bwṯ ʾgdʾ mrymʾny fryštg “Maitreya Buddha has come, Lord Mani, the apostle” (Henning 1937, 20–21, ll. 90–91). Hutter (Hutter 2017, 226–27) even assumes an integration of Buddha Maitreya as a separate eschatological god besides Jesus the Judge in Central Asian Manichaeism. Parth.M mytrg, mytrq, Parth.S mytrkw /Maitrag / Mētrag/ is a borrowing from northwestern Prakrit (Gāndhārī), where the Indian (Ind.) -y- was “hyper-correctly” replaced by -g-, also Toch. Metrak, Maitrak, Bactr. μητραγο /Mētrag/ (Asmussen 1965, 136; Sims-Williams 1983, 134; thus against the interpretation as Parth. adj.suff. -ag, see Colditz 2018, no. 362, sub D). Another word form (also used for Mani) is Parth.M mytr /Maitr / Mētr/, maybe an adaptation of the spelling to that of the theonym Mihr, see MP.I, Parth.I mtry, Phl. mtr’? It appears also as mytr cytr, mytr cyṯr /Maitr / Mētr Čaitr / Čētr / Čitr(?)/ (also for Mani) with an unclear second element, maybe a magical modification of the name (Henning 1937, 19n1) or another Indian loanword, see Skt. citrá “conspicuous, excellent, distinguished; bright, clear; manifold” (Monier-Williams 1899, 396–97). Parth.M mytrʾgr /Maitrāgar / Mētrāgar/ as a designation of Mani is also related to this spelling, possibly formed in analogy to his other epithets, such as rōšnāgar “illuminator,” bōžāgar “saviour” etc. (with agentive suffix -gar?, see Durkin-Meisterernst 2004, 236). The Sogdian spelling of “Maitreya” is Sogd.S mytrʾy /Maitrē / Mētrē/ instead with preserved -y.



Parth. lwšyn in a very fragmentary hymn may represent /Lušen/, i.e. the Chin. Lushena 盧舍那 Buddha as an incomplete phonetic transcription of Skt. Vairocana (Durkin-Meisterernst 2013, 95, 2014, 219n302; see Colditz 2018, no. 301a). In Chinese Manichaeism, his name is used to designate the Column of Glory (Mikkelsen 2006, 100), which is called bāmistūn “Column of Splendour” and mard ispurrīg “Perfect Man” in Parthian (Sundermann 1979, 100, 122, n. 105, 109). In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the all-wise, cosmic Vairocana is one of the five Adibuddhas. In their Manichaean adaptation they have been taken as symbols of the Light Cross and Jesus patibilis, i.e. of the Light particles which are fettered in Matter (Lieu 1988, 209–10). But the identification of Parth. lwšyn with Lushena raises the question whether the Parthian text is independent of or influenced by a Chinese one. Maybe one should take into account that the extant text is a later copy of the original one, and the scribe may have replaced a Parthian term by one he was more familiar with from his Central Asian Buddhist environment. Alternatively, Durkin-Meisterernst proposes an explanation as a variant spelling of rwšn /rōšn/ “light.”



Tathāgata “(the one) thus come / gone,” Chin. 如来 rulai, in Mahāyāna Buddhism one of the ten titles of Buddha Śākyamuni and also a designation of the five transcendent Adibuddhas, appears in Manichaean Sogdian texts as a literal translation myδ ʾʾγty, myδʾγṯy /Mēδ-āγatē/ “thus-come.” This term is used in a text on the apostles as an epithet of Jesus who is identified with the “New Day” (nwy myδ) (Reck 2006, no. 32, 2009, 248–59; cf. Colditz 2018, no. 352) like in MP. (rwc ʿyg nwg) (Andreas and Henning 1933, 314; Boyce 1975, 124, text bt; on Jesus as the New Day, see also Franzmann 2003, 31, 46). The plural myδʾγṯyyṯ /mēδ-āγātēt/ may probably also serve as translation of WMIran. ʾrdʾwʾn /ardāwān/ “the righteous ones” (MS. [ʾrdʾwʾ]n) as a synonym for the Elect in an abecedarian Middle Persian-Sogdian glossary (ed. Henning 1940, 27, text d, l. 16). As Henning points out, “it is quite in conformity to Manichæan ideas that every electus is assured of the redemption and freed from the bonds of metempsychosis: he is, indeed, a tathāgata” [(1940), 28, n. on l. 16).



With Mahāyāna Buddhism, the cult of Bodhisattva rose to prominence, as it is shown in Gandharian and Kushano-Bactrian art (Emmerick 1989, 493–394). The term was adopted very early in eastern Iran and in Manichaeism. In Parthian hymns bwd(y)sdf /bōdisadf/, which reflects Skt. Bodhisattva (Sims-Williams 1983, 133; see Colditz 2018, no. 168), is used as an epithet of Mani, often together with mytrg “Maitreya.” The identification of the Manichaean apostle of Light with this transcendent Bodhisattva characterizes him as someone on the path towards Buddhahood who has generated bodhicitta “enlightment-mind” for the benefit of all sentient beings. In the Manichaean view, this refers to Mani as possessor (and preacher) of Gnosis and saviour of the Light Soul (Hutter 2002). From Parthian, the word may have been transmitted into Sogdian (but with records only in Buddhist texts in various different spellings, also with metathesis -tβ > -βt) and from there into Old Uyghur and New Persian, on the one hand, and into Middle Persian, Arabic, etc., on the other. There it underwent further phonetic developments which are not subject of this paper (see Sundermann 1982, 100–108; but for revision of his arguments, see Sundermann et al. 2001, I:180–181; Sims-Williams 2004, 544–45). But Yoshida (2008) sees no proof for the assumption of a borrowing from Parthian into Sogdian and for an argument on the influence of Parthian Buddhism on the Sogdian one with regard to the statistic distribution of the various spellings in Sogdian and Old Uyghur. He explains them by changes in the pronunciation (simplifications of the final consonant cluster), misspellings, or Sankritized forms (possibly via Tocharian). In Chinese, the Skt. term is, however, phonetically transcribed as 菩薩 Pusa (LMChin. pɦuĕ-sat, EMChin. bɔ-sat). Furthermore, the term “Bodhisattva” is recorded in the Manichaean context as a designation of the historical Buddha in a New Persian version of the story Bilawhar wa Būḏāsaf (ed. Henning 1962, 94–95, text A, l. 10), later known in its Christianized version as Barlaam and Josaphat, which originates in a legend on Buddha’s life as described in the Jātakas (on the story and its transmission, see Woodward and Mattingly 1914; Lang 1957; de Blois 2009; Volk 2006, 2009; van Tongerloo 2009; Pettipiece 2009, 140–41). The spelling NP.M bwdysf /Būdisaf / Bōdisaf/ is still close to the Parthian and some Buddhist Sogdian forms with a simplification -df > -f. During the further transmission of the story Būdisaf / Bōdisaf was corrupted into Georg. Yodasapʿ, Gr. * Ἰωδάσαφ > Ἰωάσαφ, Lat. Josaphat. The common explanation of the corruption as a wrong diacritical punctuation of the initial b- as y- in the Arabic manuscript tradition looks problematic with regard to the much earlier record Copt. Iōdasphēs (ⲓ̈ⲱⲇⲁⲥⲫⲏⲥ) as epithet of a historical (or literary?) person, a sage from the East, who appears in ch. 338 of the Dublin Kephalaia (ca. 400 C.E.) as dialogue partner of Mani besides Goundēš (ⲅⲟⲩⲛⲇⲏϣ, s. below) and a certain Masoukeos (ⲙⲁⲥⲟⲩⲕⲉⲟⲥ) (Gardner 2015, 81–88).



With the increasing importance of the Bodhisattva in Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Arhat “saint” was demoted to a lower rank (Emmerick 1989, 494).11 In the Manichaean context, the term has been (mis)understood as the proper name of a prophet and disciple of the historical Buddha (Schaeder 1936, 95n1; Sundermann 1986, 18a). He appears as MP. ʾhryndws /Ahrendus/ in invocation hymns to guardian spirits and angels of the ecclesiastical province East. However, Sogd.M rhnd, Sogd.S rxʾnt /rahand/ (Gershevitch 1954, § 63; Sims-Williams and Durkin-Meisterernst 2012, 167) is used to designate the apostles or high-ranking Elect, see for example pl. pwtʾyšty ZY rxʾntty “Buddhas and Arhats,” i.e. “(hend.) apostles” (Henning 1944, 138, 141 with n. 2, l. 40). The term has been borrowed from Pkt. arahaṃta- (Sims-Williams 1983, 137). MP. Ahrendus is a Graecised form of *Ahrend, with metathesis hr < rh, probably via Bactr. *αυρεντο /ahrent/, where υ stands for /h/ like in Copt. ⲁⲩⲣⲉⲛⲧⲏⲥ /Aurentēs/, cf. also OUygh.M ʾhrynṯws /Ahrintus/ (Sundermann 1991, 430n28; Sims-Williams 2000; but see Tardieu 1988, 172: Aurentēs as transcription of pl. Skt. arhantas), while Sogd. rahand and OUygh.S ʾʾrxʾnt, ʾʾrxnt /arxant/ (Zieme 1996, 27, 34–36) are close to the Indian word (see also Leurini 2013, 56–58; Colditz 2018, no. 28).

Figures from the Buddhist Tradition


Mani’s adoption of Buddha to the chain of prophets drew the attention of Manichaean authors to other figures of the Buddhist tradition. A Sogdian homily lists calumniators of the original true teachings of Mani’s predecessors and mentions Upagupta, Aśoka, and Devadatta as enemies of Buddha Śākyamuni (Henning 1944, 138, 141, ll. 29–33; see Lurje 2010, nos. 462, 1179, 1332; Colditz 2018, no. 206 (?), 509, 562, 601). Aśoka, the king of the Indian Maurya dynasty (268–232 B.C.), appears as Sogd. šwkʾ /Šōka/ with elision of the initial ʾ- (Henning 1944, 141n4). His alleged hostility towards the historical Buddha is chronologically wrong, but fits the hagiographical stylization that famous promoters of the faith (here Buddhism) must have been its fierce opponents before. Thus the same text calls Jamāspa the slanderer of Zarathustra. Sogd. *wpkʾtt may be read as /Upgatt(?)/ (MS. +wprʾtt with misreading of k as r in a Vorlage in Sogdian script, cf. Henning 1944, 141n3) borrowed from Pkt. Upagutta, Skt. Upagupta, who is counted as fifth (Zen tradition: fourth) Buddhist patriarch during the time of Aśoka. He is not known for any hostile actions against the faith. Since he features prominently in the Buddhist Avadāna literature, the Manichaeans may have integrated him just as another famous figure in the history of Buddhism. The case is different with Devadatta, a relative of the historical Buddha, whom Buddhist tradition considers as one of Buddha’s most persistent enemies and who caused the first schism in the saṅgha. He appears in the text as Sogd. tyβδʾtty /Dēvdatt/ from Skt. Devadatta, and probably also in the well-known Parthian dialogue between the boy (i.e. the soul) and a saviour figure (Jesus?) as dybt (ed. Andreas and Henning 1934, 878–81, here 880, l. 60; cf. Colditz 2018, no. 206). Skjærvø (1994, 242–43) explains the word as *Dēvat(t) < Deb(d)at / Deba(d)t / Dēva(d)t(?) < Skt. Devadatta (against Henning: *Dibat < Dilbat “Venus,” thus also Livšic 2010, no. 190, Wilkens [personal communication]: *Dēvat(ā) < Skt. Devatā- “deity”).

Literary Figures from the Indian Tradition


Manichaean literature was inspired by tales and parables of other cultures and religions. In Central Asia, but probably also in eastern Iran, the Manichaeans adopted Buddhist—or more generally Indian—literary genres and topoi (Asmussen 1975, 39–42; Sundermann 1997, 654–55, 2009a, 230, 234–35, 238; Gardner 2020b, 43–45, 2020a). Thus Avadāna and Jātaka stories served as patterns for Manichaean parable collections such as the Sogdian Parable Book (ed. Sundermann 1985; Benkato 2017). The stories in this book have a stylistic and terminological Buddhist appearance but their thematic core traces back to the earliest Manichaean tradition and even to scriptures of Mani himself (Colditz 2015). Manichaean story-tellers transmitted literary motives and figures between east and west. A collection of Sogdian short tales contains a story about three fishes, called ʿyw šmʾrʾyy /Ēw-šmārē/ “One-Thought,” C šmʾryy /Sat-šmārē/ “Hundred-Thoughts,” and zʾr šmʾrynyy /Zār-šmārē̆nē/ “Thousand-Thoughts” (ed. Henning 1945a, 471, text C; Morano 2009, 176–7). It is an adaptation of a story from the Pañcatantra (fifth book, sixth story, in which the first figure is a frog, not a fish). The Sogdian names are loan-translations or calques, respectively, of Skt. ekabuddhi, śatabuddhi, sahasrabuddhi (Henning 1945a, 471; see Lurje 2010, nos. 262, 1552, 1571; Colditz 2018, nos. 133, 686, 697). The Sogdian story of the Kar fish (ed. Henning 1945a, 482–84, text J; Sundermann 1998, 174–75) may have also an Indian Vorlage, but its Manichaean affiliation is not sure. For the name of prince kwl / kwlʾ / kwln(?) /Kul / Kulā / Kulan(?)/, who is swallowed by the Kar fish, Henning (1945a, 484n2; see Lurje 2010, no. 577; Colditz 2018, no. 269) compares with Indian names such as Kula, Gul, Gula, Kūlā, Kōlā, Kulan, but also with Chin. 拘浪拏 Julangna (LMChin. kyə̆-laŋ-nraː, EMChin. kuĕ-laŋ-nraɨ/nɛː, K ki̯u-lâng-nja) as Xuangzang’s transcription of Skt. Kuṇāla, a son of Aśoka. The “rʾβʾn lord” (rʾβʾn xwβw), father of the prince in the Kar fish story, may also have an Indian background, but it is unclear whether this term (Rā̆vā̆n?) means “king of rʾβʾn (a country)”, “king of the rʾβs (ethnonym)” or “king rʾβʾn (proper name),” see Skt. Rāvaṇa? (Henning 1945a, 483; cf. Lurje 2010, no. 997; Colditz 2018, no. 436). Another example is the title of a parable, Parth. wyspwh(r ʾd) cndʾ(..) zʾdg “The prince with the Čandā[ ]-son” in a Sogdian liturgical text (ed. Henning 1937, 47, text d, ll. 8–9; Morano 2017a, 445–46). Henning reads cndʾ(ṯy) and refers to Skt. Chandaka, Pāli Channa, Buddha’s charioteer and disciple, but this figure has no son. Alternatively, Henning proposes a reading as cnd(ʾl) /čandā̆l/ , i.e. a son of an “outcast” (Skt. caṇḍāla). He also supposes that this parable may belong to a Manichaean version of the Barlaam and Josaphat story (Henning 1945a, 487). According to Klimkeit (1989, 193n3) there are parallels to the Mūgapakkha-Jātaka “Story of the dumb prince”, of which a Sogdian version is also known (Sims-Williams 1981, 238, 1990; Yoshida 2001, 106–7; Reck 2006, no. 74). But the Caṇḍālas shall kill the king’s son therein. Maybe cndʾ(..) refers to the mother of the prince in the Mūgapakkha-Jātaka, who is called Candādevī, by abbreviation, Candā in the Pāli version (Lurje 2010, no. 376, s. cntn; Livšic 2010, 168; Colditz 2018, 184).

Proper Names of Indian Origin or with Indian Elements


A small number of historical persons mentioned in the Iranian Manichaean corpus bear names of Indian origin or with Indian elements. It is difficult to decide whether these persons have an Indian or even Buddhist background, whether their names are borrowed, calqued after Buddhist pattern, or are even new formations on the basis of a Manichaean reinterpretation of Buddhist terms. The persons in question are Elect, donors12, Hearers, or just names in lists. Most of them may belong to the Central Asian Manichaean community.


Names with “Buddha”13 (for the Manichaean interpretation see above): the donor WMIran. bwtʾn zʾdg /But(t)ān-zādag/ “son of the Buddhas” (Livšic 2010, no. 151; Colditz 2018, no. 171); the Hearer and notability in Čīnānčkanθ (Qočo) in the colophon of the hymn-book Mahrnāmag (the beginning of the ninth century) Sogd. pwṯyʾn /But(t)i-yān/ “gift of the Buddha” or “having Buddha’s grace,” corresponding to Skt. Buddhadatta (Weber 1972, 201, no. 31; Hinüber 1995, 661; see Lurje 2010, no. 966 [with records in Buddhist Sogdian texts]; Colditz 2018, no. 428).


Names with Parth. radn “jewel” < Skt. ratna: The term was borrowed into Parthian very early on (Asmussen 1965, 136; Sims-Williams 1983, 140). In Manichaeism, radn is used as epithet of divine beings: the Father of Greatness, the Living Soul, the five sons of the First Man and the gods “Call” and “Answer” (Sundermann 1973, 99n1). The term appears in the names of two Elect depicted in a miniature, Parth. rdn frzynd /Radn-frazend/ “son of / like a jewel” (Sundermann 1994, 253, 256, 262–63; Colditz 2013, 121, 2018, no. 444) and rdn xwrxšyd /Radn-xwarxšēd/ “sun jewel,” “jewel like the sun,” or “(dedicated to) the jewel and the sun” (Sundermann 1994, 253, 255; Colditz 2013, 124, 2018, no. 445); another Elect in a list hybrid MP.-Parth. ʾryʾmʾn rdn /Aryāmān-radn/ “jewel of the friend (= Jesus)” or “friend like a jewel” (Colditz 2013, 124, 2018, no. 62); also a female Hearer in the colophon of the Mahrnāmag hybrid Ind.-OUygh. rṯnk ymʾr xʾṯwn /Ratnak Y(a)mar Qatun/ “Lady Dear to / like a jewel” (Zieme 2006, 122; Colditz 2018, no. 447).


Names with Parth. darm “law” < Skt. dharma: the donor and scribe Parth. drmpwhr /Darm-puhr/ “son of the law,” possibly a calque of Skt. Dharmaputra (Sundermann 1994, 253, 261–62, 265; Livšic 2010, no. 170; Colditz 2013, 121, 2018, no. 197). The term itself is not recorded in Manichaean Parthian texts, but only in Manichaean Sogdian as adj. δrmyk, δrmyq /δarmīk/ “relating to the religious law” with Sogdian suffix (Sims-Williams and Durkin-Meisterernst 2012, 73).


Names with mahā < Skt. mahā- “great”: a Hearer in the colophon of the Mahrnāmag MP. mhʾyʾn /Mahā-yān/, maybe from Skt. mahāyāna- “great vehicle,” or hybrid Skt.-Sogd. “having great favour” (Colditz 2018, no. 327); a female name in a list Sogd. mxʾmʾyh /Maxāmāy/ “great pleasure” from Skt. Mahāmāyā (Colditz 2018, no. 351).


Indian origin has been assumed for the name of the Buddhist sage Gundēš (Parth. gwndyš, Copt. ⲅⲟⲩⲛⲇⲏϣ /Goundēš/) at the court of king Šābuhr I, from Ind. Govindeṣa or Guṇādhaṣa (Sundermann 1981, 87n3). But an interpretation as hypocorism of a MP. name containing gund- < *vinda- “having received” or gund “army, troop, group, gathering” also seems possible (Sundermann 1992b, 308n19; cf. Colditz 2018, no. 229). For similar hypocorisms, see Gundā̆ (gwndʾ) on a Sasanian seal (Yamauchi 1993, 17) and Windōē (Justi 1895, 370). Alternatively, BeDuhn (2015, 71–72) relates this name with that of a water channel Gr. Γόνδεισος < Parth. *Gund-dēz “troop-fort,” later rebuilt by Šābuhr I as Gundēšāpūr, i.e. Bēṯ Lapaṭ. But the ending in -ē̆š in Parthian and Coptic remains problematic for this explanation considering Parth., MP. diz “fort, fortress,” Bactr. λιζα, λιζο, OP. didā-, Av. °-daēza- (Schmitt 2014, 169). If the assumption of an Iranian origin of the name is correct, Gundēš was probably a Buddhist native from eastern Iran. But one cannot exclude that he was indeed a sage from “India” (or rather regions west from it, such as Kushan) at the royal court.14


Some other elements in names may be of Indian origin and often appear together with Old Uyghur ones: qwmʾr /kumār/ < Skt. kumārá- “child, boy, son” in Parth. ]yšk qwmʾr /]išk-kumār/ (Colditz 2018, no. 752); mwndʾ /munda/ < Skt. muṇda “shaved, bold; hornless” in OUygh. or hybrid Ind.-OUygh./MP.(?) mwndʾ ṯwr /Munda Tur / Tūr(?)/, a Hearer in a colophon (Colditz 2018, no. 346); sbhl /subahl/ < Skt. subhadra- “happy” in hybrid WMIran.-Ind. nyw sbhl /Nēw-subahl/, two(?) Elect (Colditz 2018, no. 403); synʾ /sēnā/ < Skt. sénā “army” in hybrid OUygh.-Ind.(?) ʿysygṯrxʾn synʾʾmγʾ /Isig-tarqan *Sēna-amγa / Sēnamγa(?)/, a Hearer in the colophon of the Mahrnāmag (Colditz 2018, no. 129). But we cannot elaborate here on all those names in the Iranian Manichaean corpus for which Indian origins or elements have been supposed.



The use of names and terms of Indian origin bears witness to encounters of Iranian-speaking Manichaeans with Indian religious traditions and cultures, mainly with Buddhism and/or Jainism. Although one may assume a more or less continuous impact over time, there are two main areas and periods of terminological transfer: the northeastern Iranian border region in the time of early Manichaeism (third/fourth century) and Central Asia during Manichaeanism’s heyday (eighth to eleventh century). Additionally, the intellectual exchange between sages from various regions, among them probably also from “the East,” at the royal Sasanian court may have provided further Indian cultural impact. But as measured by the small number of Indian names in the Iranian Manichaean corpus, one could get the impression that the Manichaean tradition was not essentially affected by Buddhism (or Jainism). Since Mani’s religion was based on divine revelation, it should have remained stable in the face of the influence of foreign creeds. But the adoption of Buddha as Mani’s predecessor and of Buddha and Bodhisattva names are signs of a certain dogmatic flexibility. The early church was thereby able to make new missionary areas accessible and to stabilise its own position therein. Moreover, these borrowings have a dogmatic dimension beyond mere terminological adaptation. Based on the claim to preach a universal religion, Mani looked for a core of the true faith in foreign creeds. Manichaeism thus experienced a re-contextualization in the face of non-Manichaean traditions. With the integration of “Buddha,” “Bodhisattva,” “Maitreya,” etc. into the Manichaean system, these terms were reinterpreted and, as it were, “Manichaeanised.” Mani may have encountered followers of early schools (probably Sāmmītiya) of Nikāya Buddhism during his journey through Tūrān and Sind, so-called “Hīnayāna” (BeDuhn 2015, 65–66). But the Iranian Manichaean texts underwent several redactions while being transmitted from Iran to Central Asia, during which the original texts were obviously re-shaped by the encounter with Mahāyāna Buddhism in the Turfan region.


Indian influence, moreover, manifests itself in the transmission of literary figures and motives and the adoption of literary genres in Manichaean literature, whether from Buddhist tradition or from Indian narratives like the Pañcatantra. Here, the interpretation of the stories also became a Manichaean one.


As regards Indian elements in proper names—in spite of those of literary figures—they seem to appear particularly among Manichaeans of the Central Asian community, with several records among the Hearers alone listed in the colophon of the Mahrnāmag (beginning of the ninth century). It is difficult to make conclusions on the general fashion of Manichaean naming. Nevertheless, onomastics cannot be separated from the religious beliefs of their respective times, especially in ancient societies. One may think of influences from Buddhism among Sogdians, Uyghurs, the Chinese, and Tocharians, with whom the Manichaeans were in contact. Although some of these names (or their Indian templates) have their own phraseological and metaphorical meaning in the Buddhist (or Jain, Hindu?) context, we may assume that this was not decisive for bestowing of church names or institutional names, respectively, among the Manichaean clergy. The Elect’s names prefer Indian elements that were transmitted into Parthian very early on or recall “learned” Sanskrit forms. But these elements can easily be interpreted in a way that fits Manichaean teachings. We should also take into account that names of the Elect were formed freely from already existing name elements. In names of Hearers, Indian elements are mixed mostly with Old Uyghur ones, which speaks in favour of a certain Indian influence among the Uyghurs, whether by Buddhism and other religions or even by Indian traders, as an inspiration for name-giving in the Manichaean community. But Indian elements in Old Uyghur onomastics are rare as well, since Buddhist name elements were often taken from Chinese or were calqued in Old Uyghur (Hinüber 1995, 661; for rare examples of Indian elements, see Zieme 2006, 117, 122).15 Iranian elements in Old Uyghur names are more common. The number of names formed after the Buddhist pattern in the onomastics of the Iranian Manichaean corpus could possibly be increased if we consider Sogdian names with certain elements that may have been translated from Indian ones. See, for example, Sogd. farn “glory, fortune; splendour” ~ Skt. śrī, yān “boon” ~ Skt. datta, vantak “servant, slave” ~ Skt. dāsa, f. δāy “maid-servant, slave-girl” ~ Skt. dāsī́ (cf. Hinüber 1995, 661; Lurje 2010, nos. 647, 790, 967; for lists of Sogdian names with -farn and –yān, see Weber 1972). But these kinds of partial translations of Indian names are not always easily recognizable. To summarise: While the adoption of Buddhist and/or Jain elements seems to have affected some parts of Manichaean teachings, the interaction of the Manichaean tradition with these foreign creeds left its mark in the onomastics of the Iranian Manichaean texts to only a very limited extent.


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  1. Letters after the abbreviations of languages designate in the following the script in which the quoted records are written: M (Manichaean), S (Sogdian, also used for the Uyghur script), I (inscriptional, for Middle Persian and Parthian).↩︎

  2. For recent general studies on Manichaeism, see Durkin-Meisterernst and Kreyenbroek (2006), Sundermann (2009b), Hutter (2010), Reck (2013).↩︎

  3. On the question of an influence of Buddhism or other Indian religions on Manichaeism, see van Tongerloo (1984), van Tongerloo (2008), Sundermann (1986), Sundermann (1991), Sundermann (1997), Tardieu (1988); Emmerick (1989), Lieu (1988, 53–58, 208–13), Skjaervø (1994), Hutter (2002), Hutter (2017), Reck (2003), Yoshida (2003), Yoshida (2008), Bryder (2005), Gardner (2005), Deeg and Gardner (2009).↩︎

  4. Evidence for Mani’s journey to India is provided by various Manichaean sources: Gr. Cologne Mani Codex (Henrichs and Koenen 1982, 3–5, 36–38), Copt. Berlin Kephalaia “The Chapters of the Teacher” (Polotsky and Böhlig 1940, 15.24–31, 184.23–185.15), Copt. Synaxeis of the Living Gospel (Funk 2009, 120–22), Iranian hagiographical texts (Sundermann 1986).↩︎

  5. For the conversion of the Tūrān-šāh, see Sundermann (1981, 19–24, text 2.2); Gardner, BeDuhn, and Dilley (2018, 26–37). BeDuhn (2015, 56–66) and Gardner (2020b, 43–48, 58) have argued on the basis of Dublin Kephalaia 353.28 []ⲁⲡⲱⲣⲏⲥ ⲡ[ⲣ̅ⲣⲟ ⲛ̅ⲧⲟ]ⲩⲣⲁⲛ /[S]apōrēs p-[erro en-to]uran/ “[Š]ābuhr the [king of T]ūrān” that this king was Šābuhr, son of the Sasanian king of kings Šābuhr I (240–272 C.E.), who is mentioned in the inscription of the latter at the Kaʿbe-ye Zardošt at Naqš-e Rostam (ca. 260–262 C.E.) as “king of the Mesene” (ŠKZ § 34: MP., Parth. mēšān-šah, Gr. Μησανηνῶν βασιλέως, ed. Huyse 1999, I:47). The scholars assume that Manichaean narratives about his conversion may have later been mixed up with those about Mani’s audiences with his father, the Sasanian ruler. Although such a restoration of the name in the Kephalaia suggests itself there remains some uncertainty. The same inscription mentions next Narseh, another son of Šābuhr I and later king of kings Narseh I (293–302 C.E.), as “king of Hind(estān), Sagestān, and Tūrān to the coast of the sea” at that time (ŠKZ § 34: MP. šāh Hind, Sagestān ud Tūrestān tā drayā damb, Parth. šāh Hind, Sagestān ud Turγestān yad ō zrēh zamb, Gr. βασιλέως Ἰνδίας Σεγιστηνῆς Τουρηνῆς ἕως χείλους θαλάσσης, ed. Huyse 1999, I:47). But a certain Šābuhr, son of Hormezd II (302–309 C.E.), brother of Šābuhr II (309–379 C.E.) and great-grandson of Šābuhr I, appears with the same royal title in his own inscription at Persepolis (ŠPs-I, ed. Back 1978, 492, 518–9n360– 2), according to which he travelled from Pārs to Sagestān in the second year of Šābuhr II (i.e. 311 C.E.). Maybe this later king of Tūrān has been taken for the earlier one in the transmission of the narrative which may have received its final version from the end of the third to the beginning of the fourth century.↩︎

  6. For the delegation of Pattēg and Hannī to India, see Sundermann (1981, 56–57, texts 4a.1, ll. 654–659). For Mani’s “Great Epistle to the Indians,” see an-Nadīm, Fihrist, 336.20 (ed. Dodge 1970, II:799).↩︎

  7. An extant single leaf from a book in Bactrian written in the Manichaean script (M 1224, ed. Sims-Williams 2009) witnesses the activity of missionaries in that area. However, its content shows influences from a Buddhist milieu.↩︎

  8. For studies on Indian loanwords and names in Iranian languages, see Müller (1912, 33), Asmussen (1965, 135–36), Sundermann (1982), Sundermann (1994, 261), Sims-Williams (1983), van Tongerloo (1984), Skjaervø (1994), Colditz (2018, 68–69). For Buddhist texts in Sogdian and Saka cf. Hinüber (1995, 659–61), Maggi (2009b), Yoshida (2009), Reck (2016), Reck (2018).↩︎

  9. But there is no Buddhist influence apparent in the Arsacid court language (Sims-Williams 1983, 132). Schmitt (2016) also does not indicate any proper name of Indian origin in the Parthian epigraphical sources.↩︎

  10. In contrast to the Manichaean literature, the Sogdian Buddhist texts from Central Asia (mostly from Dunhuang) unsurprisingly contain a large number of Indian and especially Buddhist names and terms. These texts have been translated mostly from Chinese, some of them probably from Tocharian or Sanskrit. For an onomastic analysis of Indian names in Sogdian Buddhist texts cf. Provasi (2013). For lists of names cf. Lurje (2010, 523–24), Reck (2016, 415–24).↩︎

  11. Gardner (2005; see also Deeg and Gardner 2009, 14–20) argues that “Buddha” and “Arhat” have also been used in Jainism as epithets as well as classes of enlightened persons. He points to Copt. ⲃⲟⲩⲇⲇⲁⲥ /Bouddas/, ⲁⲩⲣⲉⲛⲧⲏⲥ /Aurentēs/, ⲕⲏⲃⲏⲗⲗⲟⲥ /Kēbēllos/ (Dublin Kephalaia 423.1–11, ed. Gardner, BeDuhn, and Dilley 2018, 166–67) and proposes an explanation as “Buddha” (for Mahāvīra?), arhats, kevala/kevalajñānin as terms for the 24 tīrthāṅkaras “fordmakers”, i.e. teachers(?) and thus as a reflexion of a Jain model.↩︎

  12. Names at the end of text passages and hymns are supposed to be those of donors who paid for the copying of texts to achieve religious merit (Sundermann 1992a, 73–74). But some of the names may also represent the memory of the deceased in the context of funeral ceremonies (Colditz 2017).↩︎

  13. According to Yoshida (2009, 292), Sogdian proper names with but(t)i appear in Chinese documents only after the second half of the seventh century.↩︎

  14. On Gundēš, see Sundermann (1981, 86–89, texts 4b.1, 4b.2, 1986, 14b; Sundermann et al. 2001, I:215; Dublin Kephalaia ch. 327–39, ed. Gardner, BeDuhn, and Dilley 2018, 48–147). The Gundēš story was probably an independent hagiographic narrative and was later incorporated into the Kephalaia with chronological and redactional anomalies (BeDuhn 2015, 66–72).↩︎

  15. Cf. for example OUygh. Taišingdu from Chin. 大乘 dacheng, i.e. Skt. mahāyāna, and du as abbreviation of the title Chin. 都督 dudu, OUygh. totoq (Zieme 1978, 83); OUygh. Burxan Qulı Tutuŋ “Buddha-slave”, i.e. Skt. Buddhadāsa, and title tutuŋ (Zieme 1987, 274).↩︎